Mississippi Sets Overdose Death Record for 2016
While Mississippi is ranked as one of the best states in having access to naloxone, the overdose reversal drug, it also just set a record for drug overdoses in 2016 (De la Cretaz, 2017; Mitchell, 2017).
Bureau of Narcotics Director John Dowdy stated that “Mississippi is emerging on the brink of a super pandemic” in relation to drug overdoses (Mitchell, 2017). For example, “the number of people treated for heroin addiction has more than tripled over the past three years” in the state, and while Mississippi protects first responders who administer naloxone and others who call 911 to report an overdose, it does not provide funding for providing first responders with the expensive, life-saving drug (De la Cretaz, 2017).
Furthermore, Mississippi has a very high rate of prescribing opioids. According to The Clarion-Ledger, “the state prescribes so many opioid painkillers that each man, woman, and child could swallow a pill a day for sixty-seven days without running out” (Mitchell, 2017). The Clarion-Ledger also reported that “more Americans die each year of drug overdoses than died during the entire Vietnam War” (Mitchell, 2017).
Marshall Fisher, the commissioner of Public Safety in Mississippi, would like to see a similar law to that in Kentucky, which requires “health care providers to check the prescription-monitoring program before prescribing opioids,” which resulted in a drop in opioid prescriptions and overdose deaths in the state (Mitchell, 2017). “We must educate our citizens that all pain doesn’t need to be managed by opioids,” Fisher stated.
De la Cretaz, B. (2017). Mississippi sets drug overdose death record. Retrieved from https://www.thefix.com/mississippi-sets-drug-overdose-death-record
Mitchell, J. (2017). Drug overdose deaths reach record in Mississippi. Retrieved from http://www.clarionledger.com/story/news/2017/06/11/drug-overdose-deaths-reach-record-mississippi/349433001/